26 November 2016

Thailand, the magic of lanterns

festival delle lanterne

In November, the skies above Thailand are lit up with magic.

Each year, the Lantern Festival is held on the night of the full moon that falls in the twelfth month of the Thai calendar.

This extraordinary event, that this year will be held on Tuesday 15th of November, is one of the most evocative in Thailand and has two forms: the Loi Krathong and the Yee Peng.

 

The birthplace of Loi Krathong, literally meaning “floating basket”, is Sukothai, the ancient historical capital of Thailand. It is a Buddhist festival, in which the act of illuminating the city by lantern becomes the instrument for venerating Buddha. During the evening, the lanterns are let loose along the rivers, symbolizing the banishment of bad omens. Traditionally, a lock of hair or a nail clipping, representing the negative part of each person, should be placed in the lantern.

 

Lo Yee Peng, on the other hand, is characteristic of the north of the country: it differs from Loi Krathong because during the event the lanterns are not placed on the water but liberated in the air. Usually a prayer or a wish is expressed just before they are allowed to take flight.

 

The lanterns are the stars of the event, which attracts tourists from all over the world, and during the evening the city, decked out for the occasion, is animated with live music, fireworks, street food and beauty pageants.